The boys lacrosse season is nearing and there is a lot of hope among the local high school teams.
Last season, two of the three in the area (Berlin and Newington) were able to qualify for the postseason. The Indians fell in the qualifying round to Daniel Hand, the eventual Class M runner-up, while Berlin also fell to Daniel Hand a round later.
As is usually the case, each team has lost some key players from a season ago, but this year, there aren't as many key losses which should lead to similar or potentially even more successful seasons.
Southington is in the midst of a rebuilding year. It will be showcasing a handful of young talent, as five freshmen will be on this year’s varsity team. Although the Blue Knights will have a young squad, they’re looking to improve upon last year’s 2-14 record.
Newington and Berlin each suffered some losses but not many. Both teams are stocked with talent and experience, as they both try to reach the postseason.
The Redcoats are loaded with a heavy senior class with high expectations, hoping to make the postseason for the fifth consecutive season.
Having all three teams in the playoffs this season seems like a possibility considering where the teams are, so local boys lacrosse is something to watch.
Here is a closer look at the three local teams:
Head Coach: Scott Rossi (6th season)
Last Year: 13-6
Key Losses: Brendan Jaouen(goalie), Jared Kozak (midfield)
Key Returnees: Peter Albert (senior/attack), Mitch Fliss (senior/attack), TJ Hebert (junior/faceoff/midfield), Mark Bednarczyk (junior/midfield), Joe Pettinelli (senior/midfield), Will Salwocki (senior/midfield), James Mazzarella (senior/LSM), Jack Lombardo (senior/defense), Dom Scarano (Junior/defense)
Key Newcomers: Luke Baretta (Sophomore/midfield)
Outlook: The Redcoats are loaded with experience and talent from top to bottom and as such, the upperclassmen have high expectations.
One of the team’s goals for the season is to repeat as CCC South conference champions. Berlin is also expected to make a deep run in the Class M State Tournament. The Redcoats have qualified for the state tournament for the last four consecutive years and this year should be no different.
Among the key returnees for the Redcoats will be junior Thomas Hebert and senior Jack Lomardo.
Hebert was selected to the all-conference team last season thanks in part to his ability on offense. The midfielder and faceoff specialist netted 20 goals during his sophomore campaign and when unable to get to the net himself, Hebert was able to get his teammates involved, accumulating 20 assists.
Lombardo is a defenseman who was named to his second consecutive All-CCC team. A versatile player, Lombardo showed an ability to be a shutdown defender while also helping on the offensive end. Lombardo scored eight goals and tallied 18 interceptions and 25 takeaways.
The experience on the Redcoats team should help them get to where they need to be.
Head Coach: Zach Zarookian (3rd season)
Last Year: 8-8
Key Losses: Gage Garcia (goalie), Jack Lam (attack) and Justin Durocher (midfield)
Key Returnees: Connor Brennan, Dan Pestrichello, Matt Bradley, Rob Petronio, Matt Barron and Mike Ganley
Key Newcomers: Scott Robidoux and Mike Zapatka
Outlook: Last season, Newington fell to South Windsor during the conference tournament as well as falling in the first round of the Class M State Tournament to Daniel Hand.
Although the Indians graduated key players, such as Connor Brennan, there is still plenty of talent left on the team with senior defenseman Rob Petronio being one of them.
Petronio is another. The senior was a leading contributor getting the Indians into the postseason, collecting 72 ground balls and was named all-conference for his play.
Head Coach: Ron Chase (11th season)
Last Year: 2-14
Key Losses: Brandon Slade, Matt Gunderson, Lance Johnston, Colton Brown
Key Returnees: Matt Thompson (junior/midfield), Evan Johanns (junior/attack), Garrett Brown (sophomore/goalie), Tagan Welch(senior/attack), Ethan Thomson (junior/attack), Eli Steindl (junior/defense) and Seth Bogoslovski (junior/midfield)
Key Newcomers: Dylan Rodriguez (freshman/midfield), Jack Tedone (freshman/midfield)
Outlook: The rebuilding should continue this year for Southington. But there are reasons for optimism as well.
While graduating their most players out of the three area teams, the Blue Knights have plenty of talent coming in and young talent at that.
Southington will be showcasing five freshmen on the varsity team - two defensemen and three midfielders. But after a 2-14 season last year, the only place for Southington to really go is up.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or email@example.com